The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang (Kindle Single)

The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang (Kindle Single)

Language: English

Pages: 50


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

They were in and out in less than two minutes—that’s how they got away with millions. And for the duration of their reign, no bank robbers were more feared (though they never fired their guns) nor more pursued or more mythologized than the Stopwatch Gang. The members themselves were straight out of central casting: Lionel Wright, a meticulous introvert who could disappear in a room full of people; Paddy Mitchell, a charming and well-connected crook who saw an angle in everything and would go to any lengths to avoid the hell of being locked away; and Stephen Reid, a fearless point man who could find the weakness in any system and whose story—of addiction and descent into crime, of redemption and literary fame—was all prelude to a tragic but life-saving fall from grace.

In The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang, Josh Dean reconstructs the Gang’s glory days and reveals how the real story, pieced together through months of research and reporting most prominently with Reid himself, as he comes to the end, at age 64, of his final days in the custody of the state—is more remarkable than the myth that has long been told.

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two more. Reid and Musgrave very quickly fell in love. “We exchanged hot-dog letters, and it was this fiery kind of romance,” Reid said. “It was very frustrating, physically.” When Musgrave’s residency at Waterloo ended, she returned to her home on Vancouver Island and began lobbying the regional prison director to get Reid transferred west, to a facility closer to her. She told me she was chastised by the prison director, who asked her why such an accomplished woman would want to waste time on

motorcycle. Reid stretched his left leg toward the gas pedal and floored it. The Chevy clanged between the posts and took off again up the bike path. The maneuver was enough to ditch the cruiser, but the motorcycle cop was still in pursuit.  Reid no longer cared about the money. He wanted only to get away. And so he did something he’d never done in his long criminal career—reached down onto the floor and grabbed a firearm with the full intention of using it. He pumped the shotgun, leaned out

things,” he said. “You make it.” He still wishes he had hired a woman to sit in a large car around the corner from the bank, with instructions to pull into the middle of the road once the getaway car sped past. When the cops came running, she would shout “Oh, my God! They went that way!” and point in the opposite direction. His mind often returns to the dozen or so bullets he fired at the police officer on the motorcycle, a 28-year veteran named Bill Trudeau who had been on traffic duty when he

was diagnosed with cancer and sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, where very sick prisoners are housed. His last letter to Reid arrived around Christmas. It was short and nearly illegible, written on a half-sheet of yellow paper. Its last line: “We’ve had a life, haven’t we?” He died on January 14, 2007, at the age of 64. Mitchell’s death behind bars affected Reid deeply. “I longed for his letters of old, those 15 and 20-page raves on anything from ‘the

now he drew it from memory, putting Reid and Wright into position. Reid looked over the sketch and asked, “Where are you, Paddy?” Mitchell stammered. He’d never done one of these jobs before, he said. “I found him, broke him out, brought him to Florida, and let him have his party,” Reid recalled; this was a “come-to-Jesus moment.” They were going to be a gang of equals.  When Mitchell pleaded that he’d never used a gun, Reid handed him one and said, “I’m going to show you how.”  While scouting

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